And just like that, the most tortuous tenure in high finance is over...
Deutsche Bank AG replaced its British chief executive, John Cryan, with the senior German head of its retail bank, a switch that signals a less ambitious future after years of grim financial results and sputtering attempts to regain a spot among global investment-banking powerhouses.
Germany’s biggest bank, struggling after a string of money-losing years, named as Mr. Cryan’s replacement an executive steeped in auditing, risk control and retail banking. Mr. Cryan will leave at the end of this month, Deutsche Bank said.
On the bright side, the Job of global banking will no longer be subjected to the daily torment that is running Deutsche Bank. On the dark side, literally everything else.
Cryan was handed a flaming bag of crap the day he took over Deutsche in 2015 and in less than three years he has transformed the bank into a smoking bag of crap. Deutsche has shelled out about $10 billion in fines since Cryan took over and the bank's stocks is worth about half what it was hid first day on the job. Not content to let Cryan deal with poor fundamentals, layoffs, asset hemorrhages and the organic talent loss that occurs as a result, the gods of finance saw fit to punish the unluckiest Briton in Germany since the Cold War even further by giving him Brexit, an arid bonus pool three years running and a role to play in the Trump Russia scandal.
As we have recounted here in excruciating detail, John Cryan's run at Deutsche Bank will go down at history as one of the most unfair and awful incumbencies in the history of banking, finance, or employment as a general idea. Even when Cryan had a win, it was really an existential loss. The guy never stood a chance, yet he hung in despite the crushing weltschmerz. He was by most accounts a loyal and dogged CEO, a guy who ate every sin of the past and saw the bags underneath his eyes swell to a medically-troubling size, yet got up every day and did it over and over again. Yet his reward was to be fired over the weekend and replaced by a guy who's been at Deutsche the whole time?
Pardon our German, but this is fucking ice cold and very very dumb.
Cryan's departure has been handled in such a ludicrously accidentally public manner that it has confirmed just how irretrievably bad things are at his bank. Deutsche's chairman, Paul Achleitner, has outed himself as whatever the German compound word is for "a messy bitch that loves drama." He's made the least appealing job in global banking somehow even less appealing. Achleitner seems to have been pretty callous in covering his tracks when begging guys like Goldman Sachs International CEO Richard Gnodde, former Jamie Dimon heir apparent Matt Zames and UniCredit SpA CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier to take Cryan's job, so now we all know that he couldn't get them to do it.
And let's be honest; If you can't convince a dude to leave an Italian bank in 2018...you in trouble, girl.
What's obvious here is that the only guy who desperately wanted John Cryan's job was John Cryan. We find it hard to believe that the guy who woke up as CEO of Deutsche Bank this morning even smiled when he remembered he took the gig. And here's why:
New CEO Christian Sewing has spent more than 25 of his 47 years at the Frankfurt-based lender, starting as an apprentice banker and rising to the management board three years ago. He has held senior risk and audit roles in London, Tokyo and Toronto but has a low profile outside of Germany.
Now, we know actually nothing about Christian Sewing, but after 25 years at Deutsche Bank, the worst thing we could think of someone is that they'd really want to be CEO of Deutsche Bank. And Sewing's promotion takes on deeper levels of shrug emoji meaning when one factors in this...
As recently as last week, both of Deutsche Bank’s investment-banking co-heads were in discussions with the bank about potentially leaving, the Journal previously reported. One has decided to: [Marcus] Schenck, until recently considered a potential candidate to one day become CEO, is departing effective next month. He told the supervisory board before Easter that he intended to leave, Deutsche Bank said in its statement.
We don't want to overstate, but we might have been pretty tough on Deutsche Bank and its CEO in recent years. Watching a man toast his own reputation over the flames of a global tire fire was too hard to ignore and Cryan was just so perfectly cast as the hapless martyred face of German banking. Nothing that Cryan or his bank did seemed to work and we got clicks off of that. It's been nasty fun and Deutsche even blocked us on Twitter. The whole thing has been a snarky blogger's wet dream.
But we'd be remiss if we didn't say this: John Cryan deserved much better than this epically buttfumbled dipshit coup d'état. In our estimation, Johnny Cryin did what he could with what he inherited and tried to make his genetically sad face look brave at all times. He was a steward of chaos and decay, and he did his level best to keep the dogs of panic at bay, and the fact that Deutsche Bank isn't in total freefall is a credit to his legacy. And if he takes one thing away from this firing, it should be this: Anyone with half a brain is no longer wondering who the problem was in the marriage between John Cryan and Deutsche Bank.
So, sail on into the mystic, sweet Johnny C. A brighter day awaits and we hope you finally get that nap you have needed for so long now.
Please check back later for a true celebration of "The Best of John Cryan."